Over, Under, and Around
- What: Simple weaving project
- When: 4 years and up
- Why: Entertaining, creative, fun
- Where: At home
Do you have yarn, ribbon, or string handy? In a pinch, even paper will do for this simple project with endless possibilities. Keep kids busy for indefinite amounts of time depending on how many supplies you have and how big a project they take on, without the need to buy any fancy loom or other crafting supplies.
For the string option, you’ll need cardboard, scissors, and some sort of string, ribbon, or yarn. Shoelaces work well, too. Measure a piece of cardboard as big or small as you’d like for your loom. You can go as small as a few square inches or as large as you have yarn to cover.
Cut slits along two parallel edges of the cardboard, each slit maybe one centimeter deep into the cardboard. (Thinner cardboard from breakfast cereal boxes and the like makes it easier to cut for kids, though thicker boxes hold up well to multiple weavings.) The slits can be as close or far apart as your child wants. There’s really no wrong way to start.
Once you have the cardboard prepared, tie a knot in the string that prevents it from sliding through the cardboard slit. Pull the string through the cut closest to one edge, then down the length of the cardboard to the cut on the opposite side. Once there, loop the string around the back of the small flap of cardboard and go back up to the other side, so that most of the string shows up on the same side of the cardboard. Repeat those steps for the entire length of cardboard. Once you reach the last slit, tie a knot so the string doesn’t come loose.
Now you have your loom! Kids can start weaving with the same or different string. Simply pick a pattern, and go for it. When you get to the end of the loom lines, go around the last string and start back in the other direction. Keep going until you run out of string. If you want more weaving, tie a new piece of string to the end of the old one and keep going until you run out of loom or your kids get tired. The standard pattern goes over one string then under the next, but almost anything will work. They can experiment with different approaches on different projects or even on the next line.
The beauty of this project (besides building pattern skills and hand eye coordination) is that almost any color combinations or materials turn out lovely. The end result makes a great homemade gift that isn’t too hefty to mail or pack, as a keepsake for you or your child. But be forewarned. It can be addictive, for adults as well as children.